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Cox looks for better game management

25 September 2014

Boss aims for 90-minute performance, following game of two halves against Carlisle.

Manager Paul Cox wants our players to improve their game management during matches where we find ourselves in good positions.

Having been 3-0 up at half-time, our team held on to win 3-2 against Carlisle United last time out to record their fifth success this term, whilst in our last away match, Wycombe Wanderers came from behind to beat us 2-1.

“Somebody told me this morning that there’s only something like five clubs from the Championship downwards that have won more matches than us [this season],” said our manager.

“The big thing now is that we need game management. The games that we have lost, we need to make sure we don’t lose. On the bigger picture, the players are working extremely hard for this football club and playing some good stuff.”

Meanwhile, our boss was impressed with the performances of several players during a reserve match at Scunthorpe United on Tuesday afternoon, which finished in a 1-1 draw.

The Iron took the lead courtesy of a first half strike by trialist Rory Fallen, but Ollie Palmer pounced in the closing stages to earn us a deserved draw.

“It was a good run out for us and a really competitive game. It got a number of players, some of whom were coming back from injury, 45 to 90 minutes under their belts,” said Cox.

“It allowed us to have a look at a trialist and, more importantly, we got two or three of the kids in there, who I thought were exceptional for their ages.

“That’s what pleased me more than anything, as well as seeing the likes of John Dempster get back onto the pitch. There were some good performances by players who are a little bit rusty at the minute.”

When asked if any players had forced their way into our boss’ plans for Saturday’s match at Stevenage, Cox replied: “They all have. Beggars can’t be choosers, because we need all the bodies that we can get.

“We’ve got one or two doubts going into Saturday, so the [reserve] game was really important for us.”

On the trialist, who has been confirmed as Jordan Hendrie, Cox added: “I’ve got to talk to the people that first made us aware of him and we’ll take it from there. The kid did himself no harm whatsoever.”

In team news ahead of this weekend’s match at the Lamex Stadium, our boss confirmed that playmaker Fergus Bell is a doubt due to a shoulder problem.

Midfielder Chris Clements (hamstring) and long-term absentee Liam Hearn (knee) are definitely ruled out.

Cox said: “Fergus damaged his shoulder and has been struggling with that, so he’s a doubt. We’ve got a few knocks and a few bruises, but hopefully everyone else will be okay.

“He [Fergus] has been for a scan and there’s a bit of damage. Last Saturday, he played with an injection and some pain relief, but there are one or two players who are playing through the pain barrier.”

On Clements, the Stags' chief added: “He’s been excellent so far this season. He’s evolving as a young footballer and it’ll be a massive miss for us, because his performances, especially over the last two or three games, have been exceptional.”

Paul Cox's full interview will be available on Stags Player later today. To subscribe, click here.

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